March 04, 2002

my last girlfriend

Poetica Collab: "Obsession/Compulsion"
Write a poem about an obsession or a compulsion you or someone else may have.

My Last Girlfriend

That's my last girlfriend's picture on the wall,
Looking as though she watched us. Not at all
Do I have feelings for her now. Her image stands
Because I have no better one at hand.
To lend a bit of color to this wall.

But also, if you look at her, you'll see
The picture's lovely, just in its own right.
I didn't take the photo though, despite
That sunrise look you see there on her face,
As though she thought she heard a lover call.

There's no one sees her face, but turns to me
As if to ask how that look came to be.
"She must have loved you very much," they sigh.
But that's the thing; it wasn't only I
Whose words or presence brought that look of joy.

A neighbor might have said, "You're looking well,"
Or someone whistled at her, driving by,
Or out at night with friends, and some cute guy
Asked her to dance or held a glance too long
Or shed been ogled by a pizza boy.

Just any little thing would make her blush,
Her eyes would sparkle, and a rising flush
Would show as though she'd just fallen in love.
And yet, she didn't seem to value much above
These petty things the attentions that I paid.

She had I'm not sure how to say this, but she had
A sort of way of being over-pleased
By any nicety, yet ill at ease
As if she hardly valued all I gave.
In fact, with me, she almost seemed afraid.

She smiled at me, yes, she did, but then
She smiled the same at other passing men
As if she ranked their answering grins with mine.
I spoke to her but never could refine
Her tastes and manners as they should have been.

I chose not to quarrel; there was no point.
She'd never have admitted what she'd done
And I would not debate. I'm never one
For arguing; it isn't dignified.
I wouldn't stoop to seem so small and mean.

Still, she grew worse, until I could not bear
To hear her flirting laugh, as if she cared
For any man but me. She tortured me.
Oh yes, she knew, she couldn't help but see.
You women never live by honor's code

But still, I always was a friend to her,
And just to show the goodness of my heart,
I fixed her brakes. I got her car to start
And watched her drive away. That night she drove
Straight through a highway rail and off the road.

They said it was an accident, she hit
A patch of ice, maybe, or nodded off a bit.
Or maybe swerved, to miss a weaving car
Or drifted over just a bit too far.
They never found the cause, far as I know.

I'm sorry though; I've rambled on too long.
And this was meant to be our special night.
Where would you like to go? I thought we might
Start with a special favorite place of mine.
Well, here's your coat. It's time for us to go.
With profuse apologies to Robert Browning. The hardest thing about this was trying to get the vernacular speech right, and not fall too far into his formal phrasing -- I don't think I altogether succeeded there. Posted by dichroic at March 4, 2002 04:59 PM

keep your day job

Posted by: finario at March 7, 2005 02:26 PM
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